Avoid Social Security Fraud By Knowing These Two Scams

stolen identity

Social Security scams are a constant threat to retirees – but they are easier to avoid if you know what to look for.

One form of fraud happens when you receive a phone call or email from someone claiming to be from the Social Security Administration.

The Patriot-Ledger explains the scam and how to report it:

If someone contacts you claiming to be from Social Security and asks for your Social Security number, date of birth, or other identifying information, beware. Don’t provide your personal information without first contacting Social Security to verify if Social Security is really trying to contact you. It could be an identity thief phishing for your personal information. Call Social Security’s toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).

If you receive a suspicious call, report it by going to http://oig.ssa.gov/report. Or call

1-800-269-0271 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time. You should provide as much of the following information as you know:

– The alleged suspect(s) and victim(s) names, address(es), phone number(s), date(s) of birth, and Social Security number(s);

– Description of the fraud and the location where the fraud took place;

– When and how the fraud was committed;

– Why the person committed the fraud (if known); and

– Who else has knowledge of the potential violation.

Identity theft is one of the fastest-growing crimes in America. If you or anyone you know has been the victim of an identity thief, contact the Federal Trade Commission at www.idtheft.gov, or 1-877-IDTHEFT (1-877-438-4338); TTY 1-866-653-4261.

Another scam to look out for is when businesses release misleading advertisements about Social Security-related services:

Another form of fraud that people fall victim to: businesses using misleading advertisements that make it look as though they are from Social Security. These businesses often offer Social Security services for a fee, even though the same services are available directly from Social Security free of charge. By law, such an advertisement must indicate that the company is not affiliated with Social Security.

If you receive what you believe is misleading advertising for Social Security services, send the complete mailing, including the envelope, to: Office of the Inspector General, Fraud Hotline, Social Security Administration, P.O. Box 17768, Baltimore, MD 21235. Also, advise your state’s attorney general or consumer affairs office and the Better Business Bureau. If you see or hear what you believe is misleading advertising related to Social Security, you can report it at the address above, by calling 1-800-269-0271 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time, or by visiting http://oig.ssa.gov/report.


Photo Credit: Don Hankins via Flickr Creative Commons License

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